Old Friends, New Lives: Vancouver, British Columbia


It’s been almost exactly ten years since I packed my bags and watched from the plane window as the Vancouver skyline disappeared from sight. After living there for a year it was a teary goodbye as I promised my friends that I would be back – that it wasn’t ‘goodbye’ but that I would ‘see you soon’.


Ten years is a long time. So much can change.


We were all in our mid-twenties then and many things have come to pass: career changes, study, new friends, children, husbands, lovers, broken hearts and of course, travel.


View froma plane of skyline leaving vancouver

(Photo: Flickr creative commons)


Although I was insanely excited to see my old friends again, I had no idea how it would go. Our circumstances have changed, and so too may have our friendship. But I couldn’t even contemplate the idea of travelling through Canada and not seeing them


But I fell back into my friendship with them like barely a day had passed. It was as easy as breathing.


I stayed with my former roommate in her apartment in Yaletown…which she now shares with her husband and two gorgeous little boys. Within an hour we were laughing over  glasses of wine, half-watching old episodes of Sex and The City and reminiscing over old times.


David Lam Park, Yaletown

David Lam Park, Yaletown. (Photo: Flickr creative commons)


So my relationship with my friends was better than I could’ve expected, but what about with the city itself? I fell in love with this city all those years ago and I have always maintained that it is one of my favourites.


My first day in downtown Vancouver I took a map thinking I would never remember what was where. But as I wandered it all came flooding back.


I happily threw away the map. It was just as vibrant as I remembered.


I spent a good part of my time in Vancouver thinking I could definitely live here again and deliberating how possible that is: visa applications, relocating to another country…the thought is still hovering in the back of my mind.


Although most of what were our usual haunts are still around, the days of two-dollar Margarita Mondays and grungy downtown bars with black walls are no more. (In the case of the grungy bar DV8, it really is no more – it burnt down a few years ago!)


Margarita glass with lime

(Photo: Flickr creative commons)


Instead, on my last day I sat with one of my girlfriends in a classy bar, sipping classy champagne whilst we discussed the pros and cons of being a single woman in her mid-thirties (mostly pros). The man I was dating for the better part of my time in Vancouver is now married with a child…if that doesn’t make you feel old, then nothing will!


So what is it about these friends that we make when we travel?


I watched a documentary recently called A Map for Saturday about a late twenty-something guy who takes a year off from his corporate life to travel. One of the things he is fairly insistent about is that the friendships you make when you travel are always fleeting – that none of these relationships can be sustained or maintained in the real world. He argues that even if you do keep in touch initially, the emails will eventually dry up and the friendship will follow suit.


I entirely disagree!


A huge part of my ‘real world’ involves travelling. And although I inevitably meet a large number of people when I travel, I don’t necessarily build friendships with all of them.


When you are lucky enough to have an instant connection with someone, I think it’s a shame to just let that go simply because you live in another part of the world. And entirely unnecessary. With the limitless technology we have now, maintaining friendships has never been easier.


English Bay and city buildings lit up a night

(Photo: Flickr creative commons)


I have people all over the world that I keep in touch with regularly and who I consider true friends; who I would welcome into my home with open arms. And who I am sure would do the same for me.


My amazing friends in Vancouver are solid proof of that.


Having said that, ten years is much too long between martinis my friends, and I intend to tighten the time frame between now and the next time I travel to Vancouver


I can’t wait to ‘see you all soon’…and I really mean it this time.


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Quiet Wanderings

Comments (8)
  • Avatar

    ayngelina Dec 18 2011 - 7:38 pm Reply

    I’ve had both happen, after 18 months some people just fell out of touch while with others it was like your experience and the friendship didn’t skip a beat. I guess it says a lot about the strength of friendships.
    ayngelina recently posted..Food Photo Friday: Perfectly cooked fish in MallorcaMy Profile

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      quietwanderings Dec 23 2011 - 3:24 am Reply

      I absolutely agree, Ayngelina. Some people will always drift back out of your life, but the true friends are there for the long-haul. I love that I have friends all over the world.

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    Pete Dec 20 2011 - 6:10 am Reply

    Agree that in this day in age it’s easy to keep in contact. When I have returned back to Canada for a few days, catching up with friends is like I’ve never left, except just lots of new stories.

    I feel like a lot of time has passed when I go back and I don’t recognize their kids anymore because they’ve grown up so fast. Funny that they like to point out how much more grey hair I have, now that makes me feel old :)
    Pete recently posted..Meet MamaMy Profile

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      quietwanderings Dec 23 2011 - 3:26 am Reply

      Haha – yes, you know it’s a true friend if they are pointing out things like that…and getting away with it! :)

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    Stephanie - The Travel Chica Dec 23 2011 - 2:22 pm Reply

    It is great to have a group of friends like that. I feel lucky to have it too :-)
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..What Exactly Is An Elephant Seal?My Profile

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    Bryan Dec 25 2011 - 1:29 am Reply

    A very blessed site and a very blessed tme for all this time of year; but all days are blessed. My next trip is to Moroccoc with my frined Terik. I will share.
    My best to everyone.

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    Emily Jan 1 2012 - 10:54 am Reply

    Loving reading about your Canadian adventures, as I am planning on moving there this year so it’s rather timely. Probably Vancouver, too. I am curious, is the weather a big adjustment?
    I am new to the blogging world, both reading and writing, but am loving reading yours.
    Emily recently posted..The wind in my faceMy Profile

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      quietwanderings Jan 6 2012 - 1:32 am Reply

      Emily, thank you for your lovely comments and how fantastic that you are moving to Vancouver! I probably don’t need to mention how jealous I am 😉 I didn’t find it a big adjustment at all, but I do like cold weather. The climate is pretty mild, especially compared to the rest of Canada. It does rain a lot though.The vibrancy of the city and it’s location outweigh any weather issues though in my opinion. Good luck with your plans and your new blog – just bookmarked it!

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